Stability pact: night bilateral between Meloni and Macron, then Scholz also arrives

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By John

A very long nocturnal meeting, sweetened by red wine, toasts and laughter, in the bar of a historic hotel in Brussels. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and French President Emmanuel Macron met again in a bilateral meeting on the eve of a crucial European Council on the issues of enlargement to Ukraine and the European budget, with the great issue of the Stability Pact in the background.

It was an excellent discussion”, explained Macron at the end of the meeting, which began late in the evening after the summit between the EU and the Western Balkans, away from the cameras. The bilateral meeting took place in the hotel bar where both leaders stayed overnight and where Olaf Scholz also stays. The German chancellor was sitting in the same room. He first greeted Meloni and Macron, then sat for a long time at a nearby table with his staff. Finally, the only one in a gray short-sleeved t-shirt in the group of leader, joined the French president and the Italian prime minister. Official sources revealed almost nothing from the meeting. But, despite the relaxed faces that could be seen at the table, the topics to be discussed were very hot. With Italy almost ready going all out – so much so as to evoke a veto – to prevent a compromise from taking shape on the new Stability Pact that is considered too punitive for countries with high debt. On the dossier of the 2021-27 budget review, Rome and Paris are on the opposite side to that of Germany and the frugal, and ask that the EU make more resources available on migration and industrial innovation, as well as for support for Ukraine.
Kiev, plausibly, was part of the meeting, which took place under the eyes of some reporters, the staff of the Presidency of the Council, the Minister for EU Affairs, the South, Cohesion and the Pnrr Raffaele Fitto and the diplomats stationed at the European institutions. In fact, the meeting took place a few hours before the EU summit which is expected to clash between Hungary and the other 26 over the opening of negotiations for Kiev’s entry. Moderate optimism filtered through European sources late at night. While sources at Palazzo Chigi have explained that a bilateral agreement between Meloni and Orban is being worked on on the sidelines of the summit of the 27.